Don't cut corners when buying and using charging equipment
Springfield, Ill., Aug. 15, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --
People are always losing their phone chargers.
As a solution, many people reach for the low-cost, generic plug-in USB chargers and charging cables found in the sea of impulse items that flank check-out lines. It can save money and it’s so convenient, most people rationalize when making a purchase. Without much more thought, in the virtual cart or on the counter it goes.
Knockoffs can be great, but not when replacing original charging components, and for a variety of reasons. For instance, generic mobile phone chargers are less likely to meet safety and quality guidelines than the higher-priced brand-name replacements, according to an article in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, an international medical journal.
The article cites a significant injury that involved a generic phone charger near a bed. A woman experienced pain around her neck after resting on her bed with a generic iPhone charger (not an Apple brand) underneath her pillow. The charger was plugged into an outlet but not into her phone, which is not advised but a common practice. She felt a sudden burning sensation in her neck and instinctively pulled off a necklace she was wearing. The injury caused significant burn marks around her neck.
“In a study conducted by Electrical Safety First in the United Kingdom, Apple provided 64 generic chargers for safety testing. Fifty-eight percent of these generic chargers failed the electric strength test, indicating a breakdown of the insulation barrier,” the article states.
“Although it is tempting to pick up an inexpensive phone charger to save money, buying and using cheap chargers is one place you might not want to cut corners,” according to Molly Hall, Executive Director of the Energy Education Council/Safe Electricity program. “Using an authentic replacement charger made by your mobile phone’s manufacturer is always a better choice.”
Along with a potential burn and fire hazard, using cheaply made charging components and devices can also cause shock and electrocution. Serious potential dangers aside, they may cost you more in the long run since they can cause damage to your phone or other electronic devices.
When using charging gear, Safe Electricity recommends the following:
- Do not leave items that are charging unattended.
- Always keep charging items away from flammable objects, especially bedding, and do not take them to bed with you. Tell kids and teens to NEVER place any charging device under their pillow. The heat generated gets trapped, which could cause the pillow or bed to catch fire.
- Do not touch charging electronic devices with wet hands or while standing in water.
- Make sure charging components are certified by a reputable third-party testing laboratory.
- Only buy product-approved chargers and cables (those made or certified by the manufacturer). Using cheaper devices can cause damage to the USB charge chip, which can have a lasting impact on how quickly and effectively your device charges in the future.
- Be on the lookout for fakes or imposters claiming to be brand approved. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
For more information about electrical safety, visit SafeElectricity.org.
Energy Education Council - Safe Electricity